China Film Import Quota Will Open Up in 2017, Says Top Local Producer
Beijing, April 16th (Hollywood Reporter)

Hollywood has long pushed for free trade in the booming Chinese film market, and producer and CCTV executive Lu Hongshi says it’s just a matter of time.

China’s quota system restricting foreign movie imports to 34 titles a year on a revenue sharing basis will open up further in 2017-2018, a senior producer and industry adviser said, emphasizing that the country’s filmmakers need to be ready to face the challenge of greater Hollywood competition.

“The China import quota share will open up in 2017-2018. Chinese filmmakers should be ready for that,” Lu Hongshi, vp of the China Movie Channel CCTV-6, told a panel at the Beijing International Film Festival on Wednesday.

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Source: Hollywood Reporter

MPAA’s Chris Dodd: China Will Give More Access to Hollywood Movies
Beijing, April 18th (Hollywood Reporter)

The exec believes the country will expand the quota of 34 films that can be imported on a revenue share basis.

Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) president Christopher Dodd is confident that China’s quota system restricting foreign movie imports to 34 titles a year will be lifted in coming years as Beijing honors its regulatory responsibilities.

The world’s second largest film market signed a memorandum of understanding agreement on its current quota system with the World Trade Organization in 2012, valid for five years. This means the second round of negotiations will start in February 2017.

Dodd said he was hopeful that a deal on expanding the quota of films on a revenue share basis would be reached by then.

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Source: Hollywood Reporter

China’s Foreign Movie Quota Set to Expand — For Arthouse Films
Hong Kong, April 11th (Hollywood Reporter)

If you’re paying attention to the rapid changes in China’s booming film industry — and you should be, considering its box office hit $1.08 billion in the first quarter, more than the total for the entire year of 2009 — the past few weeks have seen dizzying activity. What it means for Hollywood is complicated:

While it’s not official, insiders tell THR that the rumors are true: The annual limit on imported films — now at 34 — will be raised to 44. The catch? The new guidelines likely will open the market only to art-house-style releases. It’s a savvy move because “prestige” pics normally don’t take a bite out of China’s share of the box office. The country’s ruling party has made homegrown hits a priority, and it shows: Of the $3.6 billion in grosses in 2013, $2.12 billion, or 59 percent, came from domestic films.

Still, more access to foreign films means more opportunities for those all-important Hollywood-China partnerships. Just don’t expect Nebraska to pack them in at the Beijing multiplex.

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Source: Hollywood Reporter

China Set to Award Landmark Second Theatrical Distribution License
Beijing, March 23rd (Hollywood Reporter)

The license will be issued to state-backed China National Culture & Art Corporation this week, breaking China Film Group’s hold on distributing imported movies.

The Chinese government is set to announce a second theatrical distribution license, breaking China Film’s monopoly on distributing revenue-sharing movies in the world’s second biggest film market.

The license will be awarded to the state-backed China National Culture & Art Corporation, which is linked to the Ministry of Culture, and senior government officials from the Ministry of Propaganda are expected in Hong Kong to announce the deal on Thursday.

China raised the number of foreign films that can be imported on a revenue-sharing basis to 34 in 2012, and sources recently said that there are plans afoot to raise the quota number again.

As it stands, the China Film Group and Huaxia Film Distribution are the only two companies allowed to handle theatrical distribution of foreign movies in China on a revenue-sharing basis.

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Source: Hollywood Reporter

China to Decentralize Censorship Process for Local Films
Beijing, March 7th (Hollywood Reporter)

Provincial film bureaus will be given authority to independently review movies, part of a plan to streamline the lengthy approval process.

China’s top film regulator is planning to decentralize the censorship process for local movies, granting bureaus in the provinces the power to examine films, as part of an effort to streamline the approvals process.

As it stands, filmmakers face lengthy waiting periods for approval of their movies from the Film Bureau in Beijing, which is part of the official watchdog, the State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television (SAPPRFT).

Hong Kong actor/director Jackie Chan and leading mainland Chinese director Feng Xiaogang made passionate pleas this week for less censorship of their films in China at a high-level Communist Party meeting in Beijing.

The move is due to happen in April and in theory it means that local films will get to cinemas more quickly. What is not clear is whether the change will mean it is easier for local directors to get controversial content past censors.

The censorship of imported Hollywood films, and co-productions with international firms, will remain under the control of the central Film Bureau in Beijing.

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Source: Hollywood Reporter

China Mulls Upping Film Quota by 10
Beijing, February 9th (Hollywood Reporter)

The decision to allow 44 foreign releases into the massive market could come as early next month.

The decision to allow 44 foreign releases into the massive market could come as early next month.

The Film Bureau in Beijing looks set to raise the quota of foreign movies allowed into China by 10 movies to 44 films, a sign of growing openness in the world’s second-biggest box-office market.

“We are examining raising the quota of foreign movies right now, probably by around 10 films. It’s being discussed but we haven’t made a decision yet,” a source tells THR.

Raising the quota could do much to improve relations between Hollywood and China, which have been tense in the past few months over difficulties regarding payment and a screening scheduling that favors local products.

While no deadline for the increase could be confirmed, the quota could be raised as soon as March, when China’s annual parliament, the National People’s Congress (NPC) gathers in Beijing’s Great Hall of the People.

In February 2012, China raised the number of overseas movies allowed to screen in China by 14 to 34 on a revenue-sharing basis, making way for more 3D and Imax titles.

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Source: Hollywood Reporter

Chinese Authorities Tighten Rules for Box Office Reporting
Beijing, January 23rd (Hollywood Reporter)

The country’s industry watchdog issues guidelines to prevent theaters from underreporting ticket sales to dodge taxes and cheat distributors.

China’s entertainment industry watchdog has introduced new rules clamping down on movie theaters manipulating box office data, viewership figures and other forms of fraud related to ticket sales.

The State General Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television (SGAPPRFT) has issued a circular with a new standard on the technicalities of managing cinema ticket sales. The rules are aimed at stopping tax avoidance by falsifying the numbers of moviegoers and reporting artificially reduced ticket sales.

“Film distributors should conduct routine inspections of cinemas and report those that break the rules whenever and wherever they are discovered. Persistent or severe offenders may have their licenses revoked,” the watchdog said, quoted by the Xinhua news agency.

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Source: Hollywood Reporter

Murdoch Moves Ahead in India and Retreats in China
Hong Kong, October 22nd (Businessweek)

It’s become a familiar story for Rupert Murdoch: An advance in India, a retreat in China. The billionaire has become a major force in the Indian entertainment world, with 21st Century Fox’s (FOXA) Star India subsidiary broadcasting over more than 20 channels in local languages such as Hindi, Tamil, and Bengali. While Star has expanded in India, Fox has had no such luck in China, where Murdoch has failed to overcome resistance from the TV regulators wary of foreigners.

Developments over the past few days illustrate the different directions for Murdoch in Asia’s two giants. Just days after Murdoch unloaded his remaining stake in a Chinese satellite television operator that once promised entry into the China market, his Indian TV company announced a partnership with Indian conglomerate Reliance Industries (RL:IN) and talent agency IMG Worldwide to reach Indian soccer fans with the launch of the Indian Super League. “Our objective is nothing short of creating a movement around football in India,” Star India Chief Executive Officer Uday Shankar said in a statement. “We want to put India on the global map.”

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Source: Businessweek

Hollywood Skeptical as China Claims Relaxed Censorship Enforcement
Los Angeles, July 25th (Hollywood Reporter)

A vague message promises looser restrictions on “ordinary topics,” but some fear the uncertainty more.

This story first appeared in the Aug. 2 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine.

To many in China and Hollywood, the message seemed too good to be true: In an announcement on its official online portal July 17, the Chinese government stated that its State General Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television no longer will demand that filmmakers working on projects about “ordinary topics” secure full script approval before going into production. The move appeared to fly in the face of the strict censorship regime that has dictated the media and entertainment seen by China’s booming population.

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Source: Hollywood Reporter

China Relaxes Some Film Censorship Requirements
Beijing, July 17th (Hollywood Reporter)

The media regulator will now only require film summaries to be submitted for censorship approval before production, rather than full scripts, for select film categories.

In what will surely be welcome news to film producers at home and abroad, China’s state media regulator has announced that it is eliminating 20 items from its list of oversight responsibilities, which will likely loosen the country’s infamous censorship system to a yet-to-be determined degree.

The State General Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television (SGAPPRFT) — responsible for overseeing all manner of media and entertainment in the country — announced that it is attempting to streamline government functions involved in approving cultural content.

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Source: Hollywood Reporter

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